Amping Up Your Plaid

39Button up plaid shirts were a huge trend last fall and winter, so you probably purchased one – at least I hope you did.  This season, manufacturers have re-invented the plaid shirt by adding new details such as a contrasting back, like the one in the picture.  This one from Tribal Sportswear has a pretty floral print, capitalizing on two trends for the season – florals and plaids.  I also have plaid shirts in the store with solid backs as well as blouse tunic plaid styles with uneven hemlines.  If you didn’t get into the plaid trend last season, jump in now!

So what do you do to amp up your plaid shirt from last year that doesn’t have all these fun details?  I love adding a vest over a plaid shirt.  A basic button down blouse works great with any kind of vest, and plaid will coordinate with many fabrics including fur, leather and down.  The key to combining a vest over a blouse is to choose a complimentary color to your plaid.  A tan fur vest, for example, will work beautifully over an olive green, red, burgundy, or brown based plaid.  A silver grey puffy vest would be great over any plaid that has white in it.  I paired a vintage black leather and fur vest today over my olive green and rust plaid shirt as an example.  22281821_10154937840438085_4171428333840452733_nYou can even choose a vest with a little embroidery.  Keep in mind the rule for combining prints – both prints need to have the same colors.  If they do, you can get crazy and put a paisley printed vest over a plaid shirt.  The Tribal plaid is a great example of how to do this.  Get courageous and have some fun with your clothing!

Behind The Scenes: Treska

After being a women’s clothing store manager and owner for eighteen years, I was so excited to get to see the behind the scenes process of one of my favorite jewelry vendors – Treska.  On a recent buying trip to Dallas, Texas, my mom and I had the opportunity to tour Treska’s warehouse and get an up close perspective on the jewelry making process.  We also got to shop straight from the warehouse shelves – we were like two kids in a candy store!

The process Treska goes through to design their jewelry is meticulous and time consuming.  First they begin with inspiration.  I found this inspiration board outside the bathroom (probably because that is the place everyone would see it multiple times a day).  It was such a great example of how an idea blooms into something tangible.  Take a close look at the items included on the board.    IMG_4192You can see how it represents themes, colors and textures for a group of jewelry. This particular design is playing off earthy wood textures and the soft tans and pinks in sea shells.  What a beautiful combination that represents the soft pinks and neutrals so popular in fashion right now.   It also appears this group might have some feather accents as well.  Won’t it be fun to see the finished jewelry that arises from this inspiration board?

Even more fun than the board was meeting Treska’s chief designer.  She was a Bohemain mama, dressed in colorful cottons and a graphic tank and seemed right at home in a jewelry design office.  IMG_4207She took the time to show us some of the pieces they were currently working on and how every necklace begins in a box as a conglomeration of colors and textures that are then formed into a unique necklace.  IMG_4210

While we were in the design room, we also got to see a Treska employee doing appoxy on some pieces.  This process requires hand painting metal pieces with a cue tip to create a patina look.  As you can see in the picture, each one is done by hand.  IMG_4206

Once a design is finalized, two master copies are made.  One is then sent to China where Treska has their necklaces assembled.  A production sample is sent back, approved by Treska, and then that sample is used by the Chinese to make the individual necklaces which are then shipped to the United States.  It’s quite a lengthy process requiring Treska’s designers to work ahead.  While we were there, they were working on Spring 2018.

Outside the air conditioned design room, the warehouse sprawled.  There were rows and rows of shelves with boxes of beads and bobbles.  Readers,  I am telling you, there were hundreds of thousands of beads.  It was mind boggling.

As we made our way back, we came to more shelves with completed necklaces available for sale.  This is where all the fun began!  Up and down the isles we wandered, grabbing necklaces, earrings, and a few bracelets of beautiful Treska jewelry.  IMG_4194

In the end, we came home with a whole bag full of Treska priced with a special discount just for you!  It is out and on the floor, so you will want to hurry in to get the best selection! IMG_4258

Lace Up Detailing

One of the hottest new summer trends is the addition of lace elements on tops and dresses that add interest and detail to the neck, back and front.  My favorite part of this trend is its freshness.  While exposed shoulders have been around for a few seasons in various forms, lace embellishments are new for this season.

One of the most important benefits to this trend is that these simple lace designs draw the eye upward and keep it focused near your face.  When you have one of these tops on, no one will be looking at your legs or feet!  Additionally, the trend adds a feminine touch that is delicate and beautiful.  It is almost like adding jewelry to your top.  The lace details act in much the same way a lovely necklace adds interest and focuses the eye.

If you find the neck or back to be too plunging, you can always use fashion tape from Hollywood Fashion to secure the neckline to your skin so it will stay in place.  We carry this line of fashion emergency fixers at Fashion Crossroads.

Just remember ladies, this season is all about showing some skin.  Whether you are bearing your shoulders in a cold shoulder top, showing skin with cut outs, or drawing the eye upward with lace detailing, you are highlighting the area around your face and neck and keeping beautiful you at the forefront and center!  That, my dears, is the WHOLE point of fashion!  Happy shopping!

What is A Shirt Dress?

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

One of the big trends in dresses this year is the shirt dress. Although it can take a few forms, a shirt dress is an elongated shirt.

My favorite version of this style is the button down,  like the one pictured to the left.  What makes these little beauties wonderful, is you can open them up and wear them as a long vest or keep them buttoned and wear them as a dress.  The versatility of style gives you more bang for your buck.

The high low hemlines (shorter in front and longer in back) are still popular, giving these dresses some interest at the bottom.  It’s trendy right now to wear a “shoe boot” style shoe with dresses.  I’m not fond of the heaviness of an actual shoe boot with a dress, but there are many styles of open toed sandals that mimic the look of a shoe boot without feeling so bulky and weighty on the foot.  The one the model is wearing in the picture above is a good example of this.  We have similar styles in the store that accomplish this same look, like the ones pictured here from Yellowbox.  Don’t hesitate to wear suede in the summer.img_3345

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

The other style of shirt dress is a pullover style.  Again, it looks like an elongated collared shirt, but it doesn’t open up with buttons and thereby can’t be worn as a vest.

This style is usually offered as a mini dress, making it harder for everyone to wear.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a short dress, don’t hesitate to add skinny ankle jeans or even leggings with this style.  It will still look just as cute.

Again, you will want to pair this style of shirt dress with a “shoe boot” sandal to keep it really trendy.  Otherwise, a great flip flop and hat could make this the perfect summer run around town look.   It would also be a wonderful vacation item, as you could use it as a dress and swimming suit cover up.

It’s snowing here today, but writing about these dresses makes me long for warm summer days.  I know they are just around the corner!  Give one of these styles a try this year.  I think you will love how you look!

A Day In The Life At Market

One of my favorite parts of my business is market.  If you love clothes like I do and have an eye for fashion, market is like being a kid in a candy store.  Booth after booth line isles in huge convention centers filled with every type of clothing you can imagine.

I thought my readers might like a closer look at what a day at market is like for me.

A market day starts early with a good breakfast around 8 am and then a taxi or shuttle ride to one of the many markets in Las Vegas.  We buyers call markets “shows” so there is the Off Price Apparel Show, the Women’s Wear In Nevada Show, the Magic Show as well as Stitch, Project, Platform and others.  Whew, I’m out of breath just reading all of those back to myself.  And it’s like that at market, we work at a frenzied pace trying to go to as many shows as possible in the span of five days.

Once we have arrived, we stop at registration to get our buyer’s badges and then wait for the doors to open at 9 am.  Security guards check everyone’s badge, scanning each one.  Once inside the convention hall, it’s a quick check of the schedule and off we go.  Because my mom and I are buying for three stores (two brick and mortar and one online), we often split up so we can maximize our time.

I head to my first vendor and begin looking through the samples.  Different buyers have different preferences for this part.  I like to look through all the samples before I sit down.  Some buyers have the manufacturer rep show them the line by hanging each item on a grid.  I feel this takes too long and since I am always pressed for time, I can speed things up by looking myself.  I know what I want, so usually I will pick the items I am interested in and begin there.  This is when it is really helpful to have a relationship with my manufacturer representative.  If he or she knows me and my store, then the buying process can happen much quicker because my rep can edit the line for me by only showing me what will work for me.

If my mom and I are buying a line together, we both pull items that we like and then go through them together.  Sometimes I will really like something that my mom doesn’t and vice versa.  If one of us feels strongly about an item, we evaluate it together.  The things we consider are sizing, fit, sleeve lengths, color, fabric, target age and ease of wear.  If the item has several negatives, we usually reject it.  So for example, I really like the print and the style of a top, but my mom notices that it seems to run small and has cheap feeling fabric with sleeves that not everyone will like.  Given the negatives, the top would probably get rejected.   This process helps us avoid making bad buys.

After all the appointments have been met, we always try to allow time to browse the show.  This is a time consuming process of simply walking the isles and looking at displays for something that catches our eye.  Usually, we are looking for something specific like jean friendly tops, for example.  This keeps us on track so we don’t end up buying something we already have.  When we see something interesting, we stop and checks line sheets or ask prices.  If the line seems like a good choice, we either sit down at the booth or make an appointment to come back.

At the end of the day, we add up units to make sure we are staying on target with our buying plan.  We use detailed sales reports to help us set buying targets or each vendor. We always allow some “open to buy” for the new vendors that we find.  If we over spend on one vendor because we really liked the line that season, we cut back on another.  It is a delicate balancing act that takes constant vigilance to avoid being over-inventoried.

After a relaxing dinner, we head back to the hotel to write orders before its time to fall asleep so we can get up bright and early the next day to repeat the whole process over again.  And that’s a day in the life at market.

How Do I Wear An Ankle Jean?

One of the newest jean trends for the season is the ankle jean.  I know, you are probably thinking, “I just figured out what a boyfriend jean is.  Now I’m supposed to wear an ankle jean?”  When I go to market, I am educated by my manufacturers about the latest trends and styles.  I, in turn, pass that on to you.  Don’t feel dismayed, we are ALL running to catch up when it comes to keeping up with trends.

An ankle jean is just an ankle pant in denim fabric.  Ankle pants have been popular for several seasons now, but the right length is critical to pulling off this trend.  An ankle pant should hit you an inch above your ankle bone.  Any higher, and you have a capris.  Any lower, and you have a pant that looks too short.  I have found that ankle pants work better if you wear a wedge sandal.  The heel and elongation of your leg, makes the length work.  They also look really cute with a gladiator style wedge because those come up on the ankle, working in tandem with the jean to show off the style.

Different from the boyfriend jean, the ankle jean is meant to be worn uncuffed.  In the pictures above, you can see a skinny (far left), a mini boot (middle) and an ankle (far right).  Notice the shorter length of the ankle jean.  In all fairness, this jean should be a 1/2 inch higher on this mannequin, but she isn’t quite tall enough to have the inseam fall just perfectly.  This means that when you are buying an ankle jean, you need to be very picky about the inseam and where it hits you.  If you are 5’3 and under, you will need a petite ankle jean to get the right length.

This style is a great summer option that looks wonderful paired with fuller tops and tunic length blouses.  The ankle length is trendier than the capris length (mid calf) in pants right now, so choose this new length if you want to update your wardrobe.  Best yet, this new trend is ageless and can be worn fashionably by a 20 something or a 60 something.  Fashion Crossroads has just reeived new ankle length jeans from Silver Jeans and also from Jag jeans.  Happy shopping!

Fringe Me Baby

Fringe has been playing an important role in fashion for the last couple of seasons, so imagine how delighted I was to find that one of our best selling lines had brought the trend into their spring collection.  I absolutely love the new fringe group from Sympli we just received for spring!  It takes fringe to a new level of classy.

The jacket, pictured on the left, can be worn open as shown or buttoned for a modified double breasted style.  The long vest, pictured in the center, is a year round piece that looks great over white but would work equally well over charcoal grey for colder months.  The fringe tunic, pictured in the middle, offers great movement and would look stylish in head to toe navy or contrasted against white.  All three pieces add some vavoom to your wardrobe that is sure to put a smile on your face!

While I would not usually recommend two pieces of fringe worn together, I saw the jacket and the maxi skirt (not pictured) worn together during a Sympli fashion show.  The two were set off with a white tank, and the whole ensemble was just gorgeous.  Admittedly, head to toe fringe might be reserved for the more adventuresome at heart, but if anyone can make that look classy, it is Sympli!

And just in case you have never tried it, Sympli is a travel knit line with a patented fabric that won’t fade, stretch out or wrinkle.  It is designed by women for women with an amazing fit and beautiful drape.  It fits women’s bodies from a size 2 to 18 with expert design to hide our flaws and emphasize our assets. Fashion Crossroads is the largest retailer of Sympli in the Rocky Mountain States.  Find out more about the line on our website.